Nigeria: Group Calls for Speedy Reform of Revenue Sharing Formula
London, August 26, 2019 (AltAfrica)-A human rights and pro-democracy organisation, the Nigeria Voters Assembly (VOTAS), has called for a speedy resolution of the current inadequate Revenue Allocation formula in Nigeria over its negative impact on state governments
A statement by its President, Comrade Mashood Erubami while rising from an emergency meeting of the group noted that the state of finances in many states where salaries are not paid, decayed infrastructure underscore the urgent need for reform of the current sharing formula which tilted too much in favour of the Federal Government
The statement stated that, “the amount accruing to the Federal Government is presently on the high side, a big factor that has created economic strangulation in the states, making Workers to be going hungry, unable to pay rent, meet their personal and social obligations with most retirees lacking the capacity to meet their health needs, forcing them to stay at home and die since they cannot afford to buy drugs and even pay the hospital bills.”
VOTAS therefore hinted that, “the inadequacy and disproportionate distribution of revenues to states and local government councils has become a key factor for the loud and ceaseless agitations for restructuring and true Federalism,” positing that, “giving over 52 per cent to the Federal Government and making the 36 States and 774 local government to share just 47 per cent is unfair and intolerable, very unjust and quite unacceptable”.
Furthermore, the Group submits that the setting up of a new Ad Hoc Committee to review the current sharing formula must proceed from the understanding created by both the growing needs of the people, the challenges facing the states and local governments and current realities of the country in terms of the huge funds needed to mitigate pains from ecological disasters prone states, those with swampy lands and those prone to devastating floods.
It reinstated that the litany of non-performances, criminal abandonment of good projects, inability to pay salaries and pensions, meeting health care and educational facilities and infrastructures are results of openly denying the states and the local government adequate revenue.
The Group advised the government to embark on a systematic short time restructuring of the economy to accompany the redistribution of National Revenue through which the federal government will be divested of its huge share of National revenue, earning not more than 30 per cent after being unbundled of many of the projects in which it competes with the States and local Governments of the Federation.
As corollaries, enforced recognition of the autonomy of local government and encouragement of States to invest in areas where they have comparative advantage must become priorities.
It further reiterated that these policies can be achieved within a short span of time once President Buhari begins to think great and act boldly in a new partnership that must be forged between the legislature and the Executive with the critical mass being the oxygen of democracy, jointly promoting and defending good governance, and acting as a catalyst for social programs development.
The Group finally posited that if the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission rises to its constitutional tasks and its recommendations are passed through the executive and the legislature and approved, the states will be unbundled of harsh interest burdens from local and foreign loans, indiscriminate sales of bonds and forcing the sharing of outstanding balances standing on the account of the Excess Crude Accounts instead of marking it up as savings for the rainy days.
With the states therefore concentrating on the generation of internal resources, the group asserted that, that would create economic sufficiency to help Workers who are hungry and poverty ridden.